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Emelia’s week at Matrix

I arrived on Monday to be given an induction and an introduction to the team by Alice Brighouse, before I was taken to meet Sarah Hannett, one of the barristers at the Supreme Court arguing on behalf of a straight couple who were looking to get a civil partnership, as they objected to marriage on a moral level. Karon Monaghan QC was the lead barrister, and presented an eloquent argument as to the discriminatory aspects of the law not allowing straight people to get a civil partnership. It was so interesting to watch, and the Supreme Court was a wonderful background for a Monday!

Our Tuesday was spent with James Laddie QC in the Royal Courts of Justice, technically the Court of Appeals, to watch him argue on behalf of the British Council against a former employee after we were given the skeleton arguments for both sides before we left. It was intriguing to be able to understand the particulars of the case, and to listen to an impressive speaker present a well-researched and astute argument. James was also kind enough to walk back from the court to chambers with us, which is when he spoke to us a little more about the case to explain some aspects I didn’t quite understand in court, as well as answering the questions we had for him.

Wednesday morning was spent almost entirely in the Matrix Office, carrying out tasks for Team T and for the marketing department. We spent time looking through extradition cases and checking their relevance to the barristers and staff at Matrix using their in house system, which was really interesting. For the second half of the morning and the afternoon, we were helping marketing to prepare for Matrix’s 18th ‘Birthday’ party, which was due to take place on Thursday. We also had the opportunity to judge cases relating to different crimes, and determine what our own, personal verdict would be.  I’m glad we were around to help out, as I know there were a lot of people going to the event and it must have taken a long time to prepare for. Happy Birthday Matrix!

On Thursday, we spent the morning in court, watching Hugh Tomlinson QC and Sara Mansoori argue against the barristers representing the Home Office following a data breach. For me, this was probably the most interesting case we watched all week, as both arguments were really strong, and the actual details of the case proved to be engaging as a spectator. Before lunch, we walked back from the Royal Courts of Justice to chambers with Hugh and Sara, who spoke to us about universities, law degrees and their path to being a barrister, which I found to be especially helpful, as I am considering choosing universities and degrees at the moment. In the afternoon, we spent some time in the office researching some of Matrix’s trainees who had recently become barristers- all of them with diverse and impressive skills and qualifications. A little later, Anita Davies, another one of Matrix’s barristers, was kind enough to take us out for coffee, and thanks to the sunny weather we took a walk around the Inns of Court, which I found particularly interesting, as Anita explained to us how the Inns work, and her personal path to becoming a barrister.

Our Friday was spent in the office again, and we learnt a little bit more about how the business behind the law and the barristers works. Amy explained to us the working of the practice desk, and what the role of a Practice Manager requires. It was really interesting to find out about the different responsibilities and roles they have. We also prepared for a mock interview, which we undertook with Alice and Rachel. It was really useful, as it helped to build and practise my interview skills.

I would like to thank everyone at Matrix who has welcomed and accommodated me this week in the office, particularly Amy, Comfort and Practice Team T. The experience has been made all the more pleasant because of it, and I’m grateful they were able to take some time out of their busy schedules to educate us about the legal profession. The same applies to the barristers, who all expressed a genuine interest in what I had to say and the questions I asked, which was a great encouragement to me. I feel slightly more enlightened about specific career paths concerning the law as well and the different routes to get there, and now my interest in pursuing the law has been greatly increased.  My week at Matrix has really changed my perspective of the law and the people who practise it- their ability to promote diversity and innovation in law whilst remaining one of the best sets of chambers in London is incredibly impressive, and I feel very privileged to have been able to spend some time here. Thank you to all!